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Tough week on the pitch, two league games pending

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School soccer team had a rough few days, during the past week, with the squad dropping two games.

Friday, the team dropped a conference match to Crested Butte Titans (10-2), who own an undefeated conference record. Tuesday, the team fell 8-0 to the Piedra Vista (Farmington, N.M.) Panthers in a non-conference match.

The Pirates are now 5-6 overall on the season and 4-4 in league play.

Friday’s matchup against the Titans ended with a 3-1 score in favor of Crested Butte, though the Pirates took a 0-0 score into the second half. Crested Butte beat Pagosa 4-3 in September.

All three Titan goals were scored by junior Kaleb Schultz, who has 16 goals on the season.

The Pirates’ sole goal in the game came from sophomore James Berndt with about 14 minutes left in the second half — Berndt’s ninth goal of the season.

“They were pretty resilient,” coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said of the Pirates. “They were pressing hard the whole game”

Kurt-Mason said that, while Pagosa was able to knock Crested Butte off balance in the first half, the Pirates were unable to adjust to the Titans’ changed attack in the second half.

“That’s just youth,” Kurt-Mason said, later adding, “All in all, it was a great game. It was a well played game, by Crested Butte and by us.”

Goalie Briar Erskine played 60 minutes of the game before being taken out after getting kicked, and recorded 10 saves.

Conner Bjork finished the final 20 minutes of the game in the goal, notching five saves.

The Pirates had 18 shots on the day.

Then, Tuesday, the team headed south for the non-conference game against Piedra Vista, where the Pirates fell 8-0.

With Erskine still ailing from injury, Gavin Ross was pulled two minutes into the game due to a back injury sustained against Crested Butte, and with the team’s lack of defensive play, the outcome was less than stellar for the Pirates.

“They got the fifty-fifty balls most of the time,” Kurt-Mason said of Piedra Vista, calling Pagosa uncharacteristically slow in the game.

“They’re a very good team,” Kurt-Mason said, calling the 2011 New Mexico state champions well balanced and fast.

Today, the team heads to Alamosa with hopes of evening its conference record with the Mean Moose at 4 p.m..

Alamosa beat the Pirates 1-0 on Sept. 17.

Saturday, at 11 a.m, the team hopes to do the same against the Telluride Miners, who beat the Pirates 4-1 on Sept. 27.

Both games are away.

“We want them to play their best,” Kurt-Mason said of his team, adding neither upcoming opponent is out of reach.

The key, Kurt-Mason said, will be the Pirates staying focused for the entire 80 minutes of each game.

Pagosa currently sits fourth in the league, behind Crested Butte, Telluride and Ridgway.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on October 10, 2013.